Indians 8, Reds 2

Three innings, three Cleveland homers. Justin Masterson had

waited a long time for something like that to happen.

Savor it? Absolutely.

Grady Sizemore hit the first of Cleveland’s three homers off

Bronson Arroyo, and the Indians remained perfect against their

intrastate rival, beating the Cincinnati Reds 8-2 on Friday

night.

Cleveland is 4-0 against Cincinnati, which has struggled

mightily against the American League. The defending NL Central

champs are 5-11 in interleague play and have lost their season

series to Cleveland for the first time since 2005.

”We took the series, and hopefully we can take a few more

games,” Masterson said.

Masterson (6-6) went eight innings for his first win since April

26. He allowed four hits, including the first of Brandon Phillips’

two solo homers.

The long drought was mainly a function of Cleveland’s offense.

The Indians scored only 22 runs in his last 11 starts and were shut

out twice.

”He understood,” manager Manny Acta said. ”The pitching coach

and myself let him know he was pitching great, but it’s a team

effort and he can’t control what we did offensively.”

Sizemore hit his first homer since June 8 to start the early

rally. Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana also connected, giving

Masterson room to maneuver for a change.

”He’s been great all year,” Sizemore said. ”The biggest thing

has been the offense scoring runs for him.”

The Indians swept Cincinnati in Cleveland from May 20-22, when

they were at the peak of their startlingly strong start. That sweep

pushed their AL Central lead to a season-high seven games. It’s

been a struggle since.

Following their 30-15 start, the Indians dropped 22 of their

next 34, a swoon that knocked them out of first place.

The Reds? They have stagnated within a few games of .500 since

that sweep in Cleveland, unable to put together a winning streak or

measure up against the AL.

They got manhandled again.

Sizemore’s eighth homer got the Indians going in the second

inning. He later added an RBI double off Arroyo (7-7), who gave up

eight runs in 4 2-3 innings. The right-hander has allowed seven

homers in his last two starts and 24 homers overall, most in the

NL.

”It’s been a strange year for me as far as feeling up and down

on the mound,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo seemed to have an advantage going in: Shin-Soo Choo was

out of Cleveland’s lineup with a broken left thumb. Choo hit four

homers off Arroyo last season – the most by any batter off the same

pitcher in the majors.

And, with no designated hitter available, the Indians’ lineup

also was missing Travis Hafner.

No matter. The Indians pounced on his misplaced pitches just the

same.

Arroyo gave up four homers – tying his career high – in a 10-5

victory in Baltimore on Saturday. The Indians kept the trend going,

giving Masterson a chance to get that long-awaited win.

”The way it’s been going lately on my part, I’m pretty happy

with,” Masterson said. ”You can’t let the score dictate how you

pitch, but it’s nice to see those runs on the board.”

Sizemore hit a down-the-middle, two-strike pitch for a solo

homer. Cabrera added a two-run shot in the third, and Santana

homered two pitches later for a 4-0 lead.

By contrast, Masterson has been adept at keeping the ball down

and in the park. Phillips led off the fourth with only the fourth

homer allowed by the right-hander this season – the first by a

right-handed batter. It ended his streak of 36 1-3 innings without

giving up a homer.

Notes: The Reds had their eighth sellout of the season. …

Cleveland leads the intrastate series 38-35. … The Indians are

10-6 in interleague play. … Indians closer Chris Perez went on

the bereavement list to attend his grandmother’s funeral in

Florida. He’s expected back on Sunday. … Cleveland called up RHP

Josh Judy from Triple-A Columbus. … RF Travis Buck left with a

tight left hamstring after running out his two-run single in the

fifth. … Masterson singled in his first at-bat, his second career

hit. … It was Phillips’ seventh career multihomer game.